I remember a young woman in undergrad once announcing to a large group of students,”We have to stand in solidarity with one another even when we don’t necessarily understand or agree totally with the method of engagement.” In that moment I asked myself, “Who does she mean by ‘we’?”
The young Latina was attempting to bring together students of different race and gender backgrounds to rally around a cause specific to Latinx students on campus. At the time, I took her claim wholesale. Taking the word “solidarity” to simply mean unity, I assumed her assertion of group action related to all issues affecting any students in the group, not just those affected by the issue for which she was advocating that day. However, I later found that there was a great deal of anti-Blackness in that group. And, while I can’t generalize that experience to broader communities, it was a harsh lesson in understanding what solidarity really means.